2008/09 flare winners

flare 2008/09 saw five out of the eleven finalists walk away with a total prize fund worth over £30,000, which included cash and consultancy from Ruth Badger, from 'The Apprentice', and Imran Hakim, founder of the 'i-teddy' and BBC's Dragons' Den first investment millionaire.

flare Entrepreneur 2009

Michael Kashioulis - Grandparties.co.uk

Michael won the top prize –flare entrepreneur 2009, with a prize fund of £15,500 consisting of £10,000 consultancy with Imran Hakim, founder of the 'i-teddy', £5,000 cash grant, and £500 cash sponsored by Exemplas.

Michael is currently running his successful online based business Grandparties, which reviews bars and night clubs and sells tickets to night club events in the capital.

Michael graduated from the University in 2010 with a degree in BA (Hons) Business Economics. He also undertook a one year placement at the University of Hertfordshire, working as a Marketing and Communications Assistant.

Best Business Plan

Dr Heather Straughan - Recovery In-sight

Recovery In-sight won a prize fund worth £7,000 consisting of a free furnished office accommodation at the University's prestigious MacLaurin Building for a year, a lap-top, and sales and marketing consulting with Ruth Badger; famously known for appearing on the famous BBC TV show 'The Apprentice'.

Heather successfully runs the social enterprise Recovery In-sight, providing training products and services, research, self help and advisory services to mental health professionals and service users and carers who seek high-quality support to enhance and sustain their recovery and enable others to recover.

Heather is also a lecturer at the University in the Health and Human Science faculty.

Most Innovative Idea

Gary Schoeman - Elgator.com

Gary, an international student from South Africa, won a cash grant of £4,000 and £1,000 in cash by one of the flare competition long standing sponsors Deloitte.

Gary, who has reached the flare final in 3 successive years, currently runs Elgator.com, an interactive sport instruction portal website.

Gary graduated from the University in 2010 with a degree in BA (Hons) Marketing. As well as studying and running his business, Gary's is a keen golfer, and was awarded a with a UH Talented Athlete Scholarship for 2008/09 to play for the University of Hertfordshire Golf Team.

Best Pitch

Patrick Hardy - My Private Emergency Operation Centre, L.L.C

Patrick, an international student from the USA, won a £4,000 cash grant, with an additional £1,000 in cash sponsored by IPACs for My Private Emergency Operation Centre, L.L.C.

My Private Emergency Operation Centre, L.L.C provides business continuity products and services for the purpose of better preparing small and medium-sized businesses to recover from a business interruption e.g. natural disasters. Patrick's expertise in this sector is demonstrated by previously holding the post as a state-wide emergency management consultant for Louisiana State (USA) Governor's Office of Homeland Security; spending over a year designing its response plan.

Patrick completed a post-graduate degree at the University in LLM Maritime & LLM International, and holds a world record for 'the most number of push-up' of 145 in one minute.

Most Viable Business

Jide Ariyo, Blanchard Campbell and Nahom - A go-go

Jide, Blanchard, and Nahom won a cash grant of £4,000, and brand new laptop, in addition to £500 worth of consultancy with Exemplas; one of the flare sponsors.

A go-go was launched in 2008 and is the first Afro-Caribbean food restaurant in Hatfield, providing the University town, local businesses, and community with the opportunity to experience the best in African and Caribbean food.

Jide, Blanchard, and Nahom graduated in 2009 with degrees in BA Economics, BA Management, and BSc Business Information Systems respectively.